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Mudway - Some Strange Stories CD (album) cover





3.00 | 6 ratings

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3 stars This debut effort from Italian outfit, Mudway, reached our attention when they were proposed for addition to the site as a neo prog band. Whilst active for a little while mainly doing covers, the band have now reached the point where an expression of their own music became important, and the finished product can be listened to as a stream from their website (the link is on the artist page here on Prog Archives). I understand that an official download facility for the album will be available soon, and I, for one, will be getting this.

For whilst this debut will not, by any stretch of the imagination, set the prog world on fire, what it does do, to these ears, is put down a very important marker that this is a serious band who deserve our attention, and who will, I have no doubt, improve and be successful with each successive release.

Some Strange Stories is completely self recorded, and self produced, and, as is common with such works, cannot possibly be compared in terms of production values with the likes of Steven Wilson, but I am happy to report that it is more than adequate as a listening experience.

The album opens with First Night, a nice breezy opener, classic neo-prog with commercial sensibilities. The guitar work is impressive, backing some pleasant, if quirky, keys.

Earthificially Intelligent has to take the title for best named track of 2012, and I really like this song. My only minor quibble is that it tries, perhaps, a little too hard to produce a "futuristic/AI" sound, but, nonetheless, the bass & drums keep pace fantastically, with a nice piano as lead. The vocals strike me as being very much in the vein of classic Italian prog, and this is a strong, enjoyable track.

Mud & Rubble is a quirky, keyboard led track, slightly reminiscent to me of the type of quaint stuff early Genesis put out such as Harold The Barrel. It is rather strange, but funnily addictive, and I particularly like Matteo Salamon's guitar work at the close.

Seeking To Believe is the longest track on offer at 7:51 long. The main opening section is warm & lush, very much in the mould of classic symphonic progressive rock from the 1970's. As it progresses, it develops into a more complex and slightly darker flavour. with a very good bassline, and very good drumming work by Leonardo Alessandro Patruno, moving the track along very nicely to effectively back a fine guitar lead and complex keyboard overlays.

El Bombastico is, well, a strange story. The highlight here, and possibly of the album as a whole. is the closing keyboard passage, which is strikingly loud, almost industrial, and, well, bombastic.

Caramel is a track which takes me back to the 1980's in tone and execution, almost, in parts, to some of the better works released by the likes of John Foxx & Gary Numan, with doses of latter-day Genesis and early Floyd and Van Der Graaf thrown in for good measure. I also think that sections of this track were influenced strongly by IQ, particularly in the Dark Matter incarnation of the band. Again, the keyboards provided to us by Paolo Santambrogio, backed by Matteo Salamon & Giampaolo Filippo Parravicini, are a joy to listen to, and this is a thoughtful, deceptively complex track.

The shortest track here is What Mist Takes, and this has a heavier feel to much else present, but still indomitably quirky. Much is in line with classic 1980's neo-prog, although the end is utter chaos.

We finish with Blasted Imagination, which is a relaxant after the chaos which preceded it. The only way I can describe this track is by saying that it really should be on the next Van Der Graaf Generator album. It is a tribute to that band, and Hamill in particular, to this reviewer's mind, and the only thing it lacks is the mad woodwind a la Jackson.

So, what we have here is a promising start to what I hope will be a prolific career. I would thoroughly recommend that you go to the band's website and give this a few listens, and I have no hesitation in awarding this three stars as a good album. With success, and an appointment in the production room for the next album, this band might well be worth keeping an eye out for.

lazland | 3/5 |


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